By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

As the 118th Congress entered its third month, House Democrats held their annual issues conference March 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Habor hotel in Baltimore, Md.

President Joe Biden, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott joined congressional Democrats and a host of other department heads on March 1, the first day of the gathering.

Major convention themes were supporting the president, reaching across the aisle toward progression, unity amongst Dems, and “People Over Politics.”

“New Dems are Biden Dems,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), chair of the New Democrat Coalition, in support of the president.

“Democrats are united, and I am pleased to be on the ballot with President Biden in 2024,” continued Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.). 

Biden touted Democrats’ accomplishments over the past two years.

“It’s great to be here with the incredible caucus, such a strong and diverse group of leaders.  And it is strong and diverse,” said Biden in a speech. “We created more jobs in two years than any presidential term in American history…. The unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, as I said, is a 50-year low…. Gas prices are down $1.65 since their peak, and we’re going to keep pushing.”

In parts of his speech, Biden referenced “MAGA Republicans” – those who subscribe to former President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” brand of conservatism – and pointed to the divergence between his administration’s proposals and theirs. Still, he said, he believed Democrats and other Republicans could find ways to work together.

“Whenever possible, we should work on both sides of the aisle and get as much done as we can.  We got to bring the country back together again,” he said.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore also referenced Trump Republicans in his statements.

“Real patriotism isn’t about chanting or waving a flag around; it’s not about dishonoring election results in the name of democracy because you don’t like the result,” said Moore in a press release. “Real patriotism means bringing people together. It means lifting each other up and improving each other’s lives; it means knowing that our country is great—and that if we do the work, it will be even greater.”

Still, despite the call for bipartisan cooperation, during various press conferences on March 2 Democrats largely blamed Republicans for the lack of cooperation in finding solutions to a range of issues from education to the regulation of the Mexican-American border. 

“We have been focused on lowered costs for families, driving down inflation, seven straight months, we’re continuing to stay focused on that mission,” said Underwood, the Illinois congresswoman.

“Digging in to ensure that the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Inflation Reduction Act and Safer Communities Act ,” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) further said of th “We’ll do everything possible to regain the majority in 2024. We’re about all Americans.”

Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.